I started following Sarah somewhere in the third trimester of her pregnancy. She had the most adorable bump and such a great outlook and positive words. She was planning a homebirth and I was sitting idly by hoping that she got to tell the story she had planned for. And she did! Her experience inspired her and her husband to create the Doing it at Home podcast all about prepping for a home birth. But in spending her time and energy preparing for birth, she almost forgot about what happens afterwards, motherhood. She has done an amazing job sharing her story and being open with her struggles and her balance. And I love this story she wrote for you all. I hope you can find comfort and encouragement in in her words.
I was one of those pregnant women who focused a lot on birth and not so much on what would
come afterwards. We chose home birth (and started a podcast all about it), and while I was at
peace with the decision, there was just this huge feeling of not knowing what to expect. My mind could barely wrap itself around the idea I was growing a human inside of me and then said human would launch out of my body. To then think about the rest of my life and my ability to sustain, raise and teach her afterwards...that was such a faraway and foreign concept.
So much of my preparation and mindset work centered around birth. The vision, who would be
there, the music we’d play, how long it would be, how I’d move through contractions, what I
would say and do when baby made her grand entrance.
It was easy to forget that the race wasn’t over after I gave birth. Birth was just the opening
ceremony (pun intended). It’s a great thing pregnancy is 10 months, because it took that long for me to really process what was happening. And just when you think you’ve got the whole pregnancy thing down, you’re thrust into this world of motherhood. Motherhood.
I’m a balanced lifestyle coach and trainer, so in the few years before becoming pregnant, I had
been working on striking the best sense of “balance” for my life and what that looked like. I will
readily admit that I had some romantic expectations of what life would be like on the other side
of birth. I imagined gliding gracefully in and out of my roles of mother, wife, coach, entrepreneur,
friend and family member, and oh yeah the role I have to myself - I call that my Queen role. My
husband and I are both entrepreneurs and work primarily from home. So I pictured us tag
teaming baby duty and having enough time for all the things we want to do in our businesses,
whilst having carefree quality family time together, day in and day out.
And I won’t say that NOTHING has looked the way I envisioned. That wouldn’t be accurate and
would be a little dramatic from where I sit. I am experiencing all the things I wanted. However it
has taken some fun twists and turns and some days I have to look extra hard to see the
resemblance of what I thought it would be like.
My sense of “balance” has, at any given point in time since motherhood began, been rocked to
its core. It’s been shattered, pieced back together with dollar store glue, beat up some more,
dragged around and mushed into the dirt and then been rinsed off with toilet water. I know that
sounds intense, but that’s just been a part of it (and I emphasis a part...not all of it). It’s amazing
how motherhood presents this whole pandora’s box of contradictions. Like how you can feel like a superwoman in one moment and then within the same day manage to sink yourself down into a pit of despair and helplessness. The line between “I got this!” and “I suck” can be very thin
I remember nights in those first couple of weeks of postpartum - boobs engorged, organs
floating all around inside of me, vagina doing her best to heal, eyes heavy and burning from lack of sleep, legs and underarms were hairy and neglected...you get the idea. And just crying.
Crying for no reason. Thinking, “What the HELL am I doing? In what universe did I ever think I
was ready for this? Do I even want this? How do other women do this?”
Having a baby has magnified everything in my life - the good, the bad, the in between. For
myself as an individual, my partnership with my husband, my work, my friendships. It’s a true
transformation, one that you can feel like is happening to you rather than with you as a lead
creator and orchestrator of your life experience.
There’s even a balance to how you share your experience of motherhood - what you tell
yourself about it and what you tell other people. For me, it’s been about acknowledging the real,
the uncensored and raw reality of what’s showing up. Then taking that, processing it with my
current understanding of who I know myself to be (my mission, values, identity) and how I see
the world. That allows a shitty situation to just be a shitty situation, and not something that
overtakes your whole perspective - mind, body and spirit.
There were deeply intense days in the beginning of being a mom that I felt completely
disconnected from who I was and what I was doing. I didn’t feel the intuition, the instinct that
bonds you with baby with this knowingness of “This is exactly what’s supposed to be
happening.” And I judged that. Shouldn’t I have transitioned full-heartedly into this experience I
designed and chose for myself?
There are moments when I feel like a fraud, like when I haven’t entered into REM sleep for days
because the baby is waking up every 90 minutes to nurse, when there’s shit all over my house
(sometimes literally), when dishes stay unwashed for more than a day, and I’ve worn the same
leggings for a whole week. When I’m a high functioning zombie person. I have moments of
scarcity when I feel like this reality reveals me as an imposter. How can I coach someone on
balance when I have moments of hanging on by a thread?
What helps me get out of that rabbit hole of funk is the reminder that all of this is moment to
moment choice. And giving myself gentle kindness and grace. I actually think I’d be less
qualified to study, practice and coach on balance if my vision of it wasn’t challenged and tested
So now that motherhood is here, and there’s no going back, I can decide how I want to move
forward. For me right now this looks like taking a moment. One moment, each day, for balance.
A Balanced Mama Moment. Making my own self-care, well-being and sanity as big a priority as
feeding my baby. I ask for help. I take deep breaths. I drink lots of water. I stretch before going
to sleep. I share gratitude with my husband when we sit down to dinner.
I take all of these moments and string them together to create the fullness of this experience
that I call life, and the sense of balance that works best for me.
So here are 5 things I leave you with that you can do to get back to balance and create a bit of
peace in your day (throw your own spin on them and make them work for you!):
1. Affirmation in the mirror like “I am a powerful divine goddess,” or “I love and accept
2. 10 deep breaths (they go a LONG way)
3. Saying out loud something that you are grateful for right now in this moment
4. Some quick form of physical movement to break the pattern of what’s happening - it
could be jogging in place, hopping on one foot, squatting...move something!
5. Listen to something that empowers you - a podcast, YouTube meditation, even a song
Sarah Bivens is a balanced lifestyle coach, trainer, podcaster and mamapreneur. She works with mamas who are looking to create their own sense of balance through healthy living, mindset and self-love. She also co-hosts a podcast on home birth with her husband Matthew called Doing It At Home. She lives in Atlanta, GA with Matthew, their daughter Maya and their smelly adopted hound Watson. To learn more and connect with her, you can visit sarahbivens.com or follow on Instagram @sarahmbivens
A collection of posts from different humans all over the world, sharing their stories about the struggles they have faced in their individual journeys to motherhood.